- Facebook teen-targeted ads for dangerous “abortion reversal” pills were seen 18.4 million times.
- The Center for Countering Digital Hate says Google and Facebook profited from the ads.
- “Abortion reversals” are not supported by science and are deemed unsafe by medical professionals.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Big Tech companies Facebook and Google profited from “abortion reversal” advertisements seen by millions, according to a new report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate.
So-called abortion reversal pills, which are sold as an unverified method to reverse the effects of drugs taken to begin a medical abortion, are deemed unsafe and unscientific by The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The only credible study on the medication was ended after participants experienced potentially fatal bleeding.
Abortion reversal ads on Facebook were seen 18.4 million times since January 2020, according to the report. Due in part to a Facebook feature that allows advertisers to target minors age 13 to 17, the ads were viewed by teen users 700,000 times.
This is despite Facebook’s policy banning ads that promote “inappropriate, illegal, or unsafe” products and services to minors. In total, the platform has accepted up to $US140,667 ($AU192,247) from abortion reversal ads since the start of 2020, the report says.
A Facebook spokesperson told Insider that it removed many of the ads identified in the report, some of which were “inactive and months or years old,” for “violating our policies around offering adult products and services.”
Eighty-three percent of Google searches using keywords like “find abortion clinic near me,” “planned parenthood,” and “unwanted pregnancy,” resulted in abortion reversal advertisements, the report says.
Almost all of the ads said the “reversal” pill was effective, and 98% were placed by Ohio-based group Heartbeat International.
A Google spokesperson told Insider that the company removed “any ads promoting abortion reversal pills” adding that “we do not allow ads with unproven medical claims.”
Google said it requires groups running ads “using keywords related to getting an abortion” to complete a certification verifying whether they do or do not provide abortions.
The search platform then automatically generates in-ad disclosures showing whether or not the advertiser “provides abortions” or “does not provide abortions.”